The 2017 Covenant House Texas Gala at the Omni Hotel-Houston was all about French whimsy and fun. The theme was "Let Us All Eat Cake," as luscious cupcakes served as the centerpiece on bejeweled tiered trays in the center of each table draped in turquoise and beige sequined tablecloths, and two large screens on each side of the stage were decorated to look like antique mirrors. During the cocktail hour, a woman whose hoop skirt held dozens of glasses of champagne, offered bubbly to the crowd, and at midnight, pommes frites were served as a late night snack.
But the mission was serious as more than 540 guests turned out to support the nonprofit that provides shelter for homeless, abused and abandoned youth ages 18 - 20 and provides them with skills, training, and emotional support to choose positive life alternatives and develop into self-sufficient adults.
More than $760,000 was raised, including proceeds from auction items that included a 5-night stay in Paris with round-trip airfare, an Ultimate Hamilton experience, with tickets for two to the hit Broadway play and a meet-and-greet with the cast, and autographed sports items from JJ Watt, James Harden, and Tom Brady.
Kudos went out to gala chairs Amanda Lundquist and Ashley Tisius, along with committee members Jo Ann Petersen, Mary Eads, June Leppard, Cheryl Boblitt, Tonya Hamilton, Patti Nowack Turner, Yvonne Conklin, and Covenant House Guild president Jacqueline Fair, for making it happen.
IBC Bank-Houston chairman and CEO Jay Rogers and wife Julie were honored for their more than 30 years of service to the organization and IBC Bank was saluted as community partner. Longtime former Covenant House director Ronda G. Robinson received an extended ovation for her more than 33 years of service to the organization and new executive director Leslie Bourne was welcomed.
A highlight of the evening came when Catherine Ojobe, a former resident of Covenant House, spoke passionately about how the organization had changed her life. Seven young people currently at Covenant House also assisted in the live auction.
Seen in the crowd were KHOU chief meteorologist David Paul and his wife Miranda Sevcik, who served as the evening's emcees, Constable Alan Rosen, Covenant House board chair Kurt Nondorf and wife Marlene, Linda Bell, John and Mary Eads, Lisa and John Sarvadi, Garrett and Kristi Nondorf, Taylor and Granger McCollough, Susan McCommon and Fallon Eagan, Mike and Angela James, Anne and Brett Hamilton, Alan and Mimi Arnold, Bob George, Jo Ann Petersen, Ashley and Chris Petersen, and Jan Rhodes.